Candidate bringing a 'brand new' energy

By Lindy Laird

2 comments
Peter Gill.
Peter Gill.

Peter Gill's run for the Far North mayoralty is not for fun, even if he does describe the current council as "moving at the speed of a water buffalo on valium".

He has called his campaign "Awake at the Wheel".

"I would like to see a whole new energy. I believe that starts at the top, with a leader that can inspire and motivate his/her team. I have no business interests that would be served by being mayor. Neither have I been a professional exister on the public purse. I am brand new, fresh, and untainted."

Mr Gill and his wife Anne moved to Waipapa in January 2013, and immediately experienced a slow and casual "Northland way".

"Yes, it can seem charming, a little bit cute and local but that kind of mentality slightly worries me," Mr Gill said. It is, he said, unprofessional and a sign the Far North continues to stagnate.

"The other thing about the Far North council itself, I believe, is that it has a slightly shabby brand."

He knows his comments could see him labelled a "Jafa", but professionalism is important, along with transparency and efficiency. His main impression from FNDC meetings is of councillors ticking off items as Mayor John Carter reads them out of a doorstep-sized printed agenda.

As mayor, Mr Gill would want a "management efficiency" report commissioned to count and analyse the jobs of staff earning over $100,000 per year.

A former journalist, working in public relations and a corporate media and public speaking trainer, he is concerned about the "perceived lack of transparency".

As for the three Rs of local government - rates, roading and rubbish, the Gills pay the same rates as they paid in Auckland: "But there we had sealed road, a rubbish collection and other services we don't have here."

The Far North economic base is low despite the eastern belt's band of wealth, and he is concerned many local people could not afford higher rates.

"It's so bloody arrogant ... for a well-heeled councillor on a salary to say, 'oh, let's put it up 3 per cent'."

The council should use restraint so it can afford to deal with "inadequate drainage, sewerage and other problems. Why not stop spending public money on sculptures and international piano competitions, just for a little while?" He also advocates "taxing" tourists.

Due to his mother's death the same week, Mr Gill only put in his name for the mayoral race at literally the eleventh hour; taken by some people as a sign he is not serious about the election. "No one does this for fun or sport. I'm very serious."

- Northern Advocate

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